Title: Adulting 101
Author: Lisa Henry
Publisher: Fox Love Press
Release Date: August 15, 2016
Genre(s): Contemporary, New Adult
Page Count: 231
Reviewed by: Vallie
Heat Level: 3 flames out of 5
Rating: 4 stars out of 5
The struggle is real.
Nick Stahlnecker is eighteen and not ready to grow up yet. He has a summer job, a case of existential panic, and a hopeless crush on the unattainable Jai Hazenbrook. Except how do you know that your coworker’s unattainable unless you ask to blow him in the porta-potty?
That’s probably not what Dad meant when he said Nick should act more like an adult.
Twenty-five-year-old Jai is back in his hometown of Franklin, Ohio, just long enough to earn the money to get the hell out again. His long-term goal of seeing more of the world is worth the short-term pain of living in his mother’s basement, but only barely.
Meeting Nick doesn’t fit in with Jai’s plans at all, but, as Jai soon learns, you don’t have to travel halfway around the world to have the adventure of a lifetime.
This is not a summer romance. This is a summer friendship-with-benefits. It’s got pizza with disgusting toppings, Netflix and chill, and accidental exhibitionism. That’s all. There are no feelings here. None. Shut up.
What a breath of fresh air!
Lisa Henry’s latest New Adult novel will have you cracking up in no time, mold your face into a permanent awwwwwwww expression, and smile contently throughout.
“It was an accident?” Nick attempts. “An accident?” Chris huffs out. “An accident? You accidentally gave someone a blowjob?”
That’s a conversation between Nick and his dad, by the way. Nick is 18, just finished school, horny 24/7, and crushing on Jai, the hunk working construction at the same place where Nick supposedly works in the office.
So Nick accidentally blows Jai in the toilets of the construction site. They both lose their jobs but decide to keep hooking up for the summer. Jai is 25 and a traveller. He comes back every summer to work and earn enough money so he can spend the rest of the year travelling.
Together, they are the most unlikely of couples but somehow it works. Nick is super awkward, impulsive, and basically a classic teenager through and through. He is scared to death about becoming an adult, going to college, leaving his friends, his home, and every comfort he’s had up till now. He is also very very fond of Jai and shows no qualms about being an adult in that department. Their encounters are sexy but feel very real in that they don’t read scripted at all. There is rambling and non-sexy talk and nerves but Nick and Jai both have a strong attraction towards one another so that is all overcome eventually.
Jai is different. He doesn’t get attached, whether his companion is male or female. He does find Nick juvenile and calls him kid a lot in the beginning but for some reason, Jai can’t stay away. Jai’s sister was the best:
”You are not violating a child, are you?” she asks. “He’s eighteen.” Jai sets the bowl and glasses in the sink. “Jai, I saw him leave on a bike.”
Another big bonus is the amazing friendship between Devon and Nick –pure unadulterated love between a boy and a boy who get each other and are there for each other no matter what. Devon calls Nick out on his shit but he’s there to support Nick when Nick fucks up, which invariably happens multiple times a day.
I really appreciated the family dynamics with Nick’s dad. Nick is rebelling and he’s being a little shit to everyone. I actually thought his parents were pretty good to him for what he put them through and, granted, there were miscommunication issues but the whole thing showcased Nick’s struggles very well. Nick was having a really hard time dealing with his life as it was and he pushed everyone away, his father most of all.
The end is a HFN, completely appropriate for the age bracket and circumstances. This isn’t an epic love romance but it is a story of young love, a story about the difficulties of growing up, and learning how to own up to what you want.
It’s brilliantly written and it does not disappoint.